How does nature or landscape inform American romanticism and how is that reflected in writings we’ve engaged thus far this term? The connections between nature and romanticism have become recognized in a number of critical literature on romanticism and a number of writings of naturalists and ecologists. Books by authors such as Jonathan Bate and Kate Rigby argue that we can follow the roots of the present ecological thinking to American Romanticism. Also, works of environmental historians and geographers such as Donald Worster and Max Oelschager link our environment thinking to romantic thoughts. In Donald’s Nature’s Economy, at the core of nature’s romantic view is what the later generations would call an ecological perspective. This is the search for an integrated perception, and an emphasis on nature’s relatedness and interdependence, and the intense desire to restore humans to a location of intimate intercourse with nature that constitutes the earth (Writing, 2000).
In the special issue of The Wordsworth Circle, the introduction to Romanticism and Ecology, McKuisk claims that a number of romantic writings come from a desperate feeling of alienation from the natural world and shows a burning endeavor to rebuild a critical, maintainable relationship between humans and the planet we live in. These major statements by the writers point a finger to the stand that a number of writers have defended their perspective that, romantic literature is a historic place for the development of ecological practices and consciousness (Bate, 2000).
In Coleridge’s and Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads and Essay on population by Thomas Malthus, the writers connect us to the existing relationship between nature and romanticism. While environmental and literary history put these related but antagonistic jobs from one another, their views about nature are a part of the discussion on the existing debate on environmentalism and the environment. A Malthus apocalyptic idea of ecology forces not only removes our normal definition of romanticism but gives us the opportunity to put an illustrative contrast with the early works of poetry, done by Coleridge’s and Wordsworth.
The relationship between ecology and romanticism nevertheless, still remains problematic. On one side, the philosophy of a romantic nature has become linked with totalitarian and oppressive political dispositions as shown in Luc Ferry’s book, The New Ecological Order. On a different side, Romanticism has totally been diminished to a simplistic feeling for a lost unity with the environment. Val Plum wood in Environmental Culture, tells us that it is necessary to know the importance of the forms of romanticism, which have become corrupted by the want of unity and different oppressive forces (Bate, 2000).
In their feedback to the reductive view of depicting romanticism as nature worship, Paul Fry and William Cronon, tells us that romantic view of nature reflect not majorly actual places and different encounters like virtual landscapes and experiences that reflect the writers wanted desires and culturally mediated values. According to Ralph Pite, “How green were the Romantics” though it is essential and productive to link ecology and romanticism, this usually leads to confusion and oversimplifications, in that, the romantic poetry gets used to provide support to any different versions of ecology (Writing, 2000).
Bate, J. (2000). The Romantic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition.
London and New York: Routledge.
Writing, G. ( 2000). Romanticism and Ecology. New York: St. Martins.